Detroit synagogue president found stabbed to death outside home


Samantha Woll, a Detroit synagogue president who led the congregation of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was found fatally stabbed outside her home Saturday morning. The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue confirmed the 40-year-old Woll’s death in a statement, sharing: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Samantha Woll, our Board President. May her memory be a blessing.” Mourners attended a funeral service for Woll on Sunday.

Authorities said a 911 caller early Saturday reported a person lying on the ground unresponsive at Woll’s home. Police discovered multiple stab wounds on Woll’s body and found a trail of blood leading to her house, where they believe the crime occurred. Detroit Police Chief James E. White asked the public for patience regarding Woll’s death: “I am asking that everyone remain patient while investigators carefully examine every aspect of the available evidence. It is important that no conclusions be drawn until all of the available facts are reviewed.” White said on Sunday that investigators were working with the FBI to analyze forensic evidence to piece together a timeline leading to Woll’s death, and were interviewing “individuals with information that may further this investigation,” adding that “no evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism.” He said more information would come Monday. The state chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, ADL Michigan, also asked the public to refrain from speculation on what led to Woll’s death: “As we mourn her tragic passing, we urge the community to refrain from speculation and allow law enforcement to gather facts.”

Woll had ties to state Democrats, having previously worked for Rep. Elissa Slotkin. She also served on state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s re-election campaign. Rep. Slotkin praised Woll’s dedication to serving Detroit communities: “She did for our team as Deputy District Director what came so naturally to her: helping others & serving constituents. Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.”  Attorney General Nessel added: “Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known. She was driven by her sincere love of her community, state and country. Sam truly used her faith and activism to create a better place for everyone.”

Editorial credit: Jay Fog /

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